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Swimmer Adam Peaty criticised for taking break

Adam Peaty
Adam Peaty Image credit: eurosport.com

Swimmer Adam Peaty has been criticised on social media after announcing he will take a break from swimming to protect his mental health.

After winning two gold medals and a silver at Tokyo 2020 Peaty revealed he would take a month away from the pool because the next three years leading up to Paris 2024 and the European Championships as well at the Commonwealth Games in 2022 will be a "war of attrition”.

In order to concentrate on his wellbeing Peaty has decided to step down from the International Swimming League next month.

But his announcement has spurred tweets from those who believe he should carry on and not take a break.

Reacting to the negative feedback Peaty wrote on Twitter: "Reading some of the comments in response to this is why we have such a stigma around mental wellbeing in sport.

"It isn't a normal job. There is a huge amount of pressure. Money does not buy happiness.

"I'm taking a break because I've been going extremely hard for as long as I can remember. I've averaged two weeks off a year for the last seven years.

"Unfortunately there are people out there who think they know you more than you know yourself."

On Sunday, the last day of Tokyo 2020, Peaty was asked how he would unwind after the games.

The swimmer replied:  "It's been hard for everyone, for every sport out there, it's been very, very tiring.

"But I think (what's next is) celebrating and having what my coach Mel Marshall and me call a forced rest where we're not allowed to touch the water for a month now.

"It's going to be a war of attrition over the next three years, we have three major championships next season, and you'll see people who are falling off, going all the way through ISL and World Cups, by the time they get to Paris.

"You're seeing it in all sports now. You're seeing it with Simone Biles, you're seeing it with Ben Stokes, mental health matters. It is about getting the balance right at that elite level. We love to celebrate, why shouldn't we?"

Adam Peaty was named Male World Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine in 2015 and 2018.